PARIS — A moment’s silence for Karl Lagerfeld at his final Chanel show on March 5 marked the death of the designer on February 19, and the close of Paris Fashion Week for the Fall/Winter 2019 ready-to-wear season.
The nine-day fashion extravaganza showcases some of the world’s finest fashion houses to an audience of industry insiders and stars.
From the smallest to the most famous of designers, herewith some of the most memorable looks of the season.
Chanel: Farewell Karl Lagerfeld
Janelle Monáe, Naomi Campbell, Kristen Stewart, Claudia Schiffer: the front row at the Chanel ski-slope-set show was appropriately crowded with Lagerfeld devotees; Penélope Cruz. Kaia Gerber, and Cara Delevingne walked the runway. As noted by critic Suzy Menkes, on each seat there was a drawing by Lagerfeld of himself with Coco Chanel, with the caption: “The beat goes on.”
There was much to choose from at the final Chanel offering designed by Lagerfeld: Chanel-logo-d red sweaters, and bum bags, twee tweed suits, and puffy jackets in lurid colors. There were flyaway, sheer-white princess dresses or, our favorite, balls of white feathers fashioned into mini skirts that looked like lampshades.
No one does color and crazy better than Indian designer Manish Arora with his riot of patterns and playfulness. This season, the designer hit home with a beautiful show set beneath the stained glass windows of the American Cathedral in Paris. Models posed before the altar at the end. Arora wept.
This season, stand-out looks included Maharaja-style bling sunglasses, paired with T-shirts bearing the slogan, ‘Finally Normal People.’ Other designs featured children’s drawings, hearts, and psychedelic, hippie-style prints. Stunning headpieces were fashioned like Indian-style sundials that covered the face.
Young Belgian designer Ester Manas presented her first collection at the Designers Apartment, a section of Paris Fashion Week reserved for up-and-coming labels that are mentored year round by the people behind Fashion Week. Her size-inclusive collection is based on the idea of creating pieces for larger-sized bodies, with built in design mechanisms that allow each one to be sized down to fit smaller bodies.
Many top Japanese designers, such as Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto or Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons, call Paris Fashion Week home. But this season, one of the most innovative Japan-inspired designs came courtesy of the young London-based design house Luna Del Pinal. Designers Gabriela Luna and Corina del Pinal presented cozy puffer-kimonos, with detachable padded pockets hung from an Obi-style belt.
Always edgy, Maison Margiela deconstructed design in public this season, putting large stitching on the outside of clothing, and patching together panels of fabric to create odd-looking silhouettes that were as much art as fashion. Dark, cozy outerwear was paired with shiny, multi-colored, snake-skin-style rock-star trousers. One male model walked with pretty white bird feathers on his head. Others strode in clunky dark scrappy shoes, worn with rolled-down beige stockings, but it all looked cool.
Under the auspices of creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, Feminism and fashion make resonant bedfellows at Dior. This season, poet and activist Robin Morgan was called upon to help inspire the Dior collection, which featured T-Shirts bearing slogans taken from Morgan’s body of work, including Sisterhood is Forever and Sisterhood is Global. Morgan, together with Simone de Beauvoir, started the first global feminist think tank, the Sisterhood is Global Institute. Morgan watched the show.
Italo-brand Miu Miu is in the army now. Between the capes, flowers and sheer girly layers, Miu Miu sent out a number of camouflage designs, including scarves, clunky shoes, designer hoodies and, our favorite: matching camouflage woolen shorts and an old-man style cardigan.
Between the suits, dog collars and leather, Alexander McQueen sent out some giant walking roses. Our favorite was the red McQueen rose.
A walking newspaper, covered in ruffles, or solid, sculptured skirts and stuffed pockets, peeping out from beneath sumptuous satin coats, were some of the highlights of this season’s Comme des Garçons show.
Japan hit home again with Sacai’s voluminous collection that featured lots of layers, puffy pieces, belts and over-sized sweaters. We liked this splashy raincoat most of all.